I almost missed these breaking news – for the first time ever a female runner has won a unisex marathon. Meaning she won not only over all other women but also over all men:

In a surprising and inspiring race, a female first-time marathon runner won the 2013 LA Marathon. Aleksandra Duliba, a 27-year-old woman from Belarus, was the first runner, male or female, to cross the finish line.

She won $25,000 for being the fastest woman and an additional $50,000 for “beating the top men’s finisher”.

Aleksandra ran the marathon in 2 hours, 26 minutes and 8 seconds. The fastest man, Erick Mose of Kenya, could only finish in 2 hours, 9 minutes and 43 seconds.

Now some readers would wonder how Aleksandra could win the race when Erick was 16 minutes faster. Well, stop being so ridiculous, will you! It’s not the speed that matters, it’s the one who “crosses the finish line” first who is the winner. And since the women got a 18 minutes and 35 seconds head start, Aleksandra was the first person, male or female, to “cross the finish line” – hence this historic piece of news.

For the next marathon, why don’t they give women a full hour head start, maybe it will be even more “surprising and inspiring” to see that many hundreds of women can beat even the fastest man in a sports event.

On a more serious note: If I was Aleksandra I would be furious. 2 hours, 26 minutes and 8 seconds is a fantastic time to run a marathon. Why diminish such an amazing achievement by this silly play with words.

Learning Japanese with Nintendo 3DS

Last night I unwrapped one of the games I bought for my Japanese Nintendo 3DS LL:

超速変形ジャイロゼッター・アルバロスの翼

(Chousoku Henkei Gyrozetter – Arubarosu no Tsubasa = Super High-Speed Transforming Gyrozetter – the Wings of Arubaros).

P1110660

It’s apparently a manga and anime about this:

In 21st century Japan, cars with artificial intelligence for increased safety, known as A.I. Cars, have revolutionized the car industry. Special schools teaching children driving A.I. Cars have been established. One day, Kakeru Todoroki, a fifth grader of Arcadia Academy, is summoned by the school principal and given an A.I. Car to save the humanity. The car, however, is not just a car but also a transforming robot known as Gyrozetter. (Wikipedia)

Of course I didn’t know that at the time I picked up the game at Yodobashi Camera. I just bought it because it was cheap (1480 yen ≈ 10 euro) and seemed interesting. I thought it was some kind of Gundam franchise, but I guess it’s a competitor. Mobile Suits vs Gyrozetters.

P1110663

My text books are full of carefully crafted dialogues. They introduce new grammar and vocabulary, and they’re good at that, but they don’t give you the thrill of learning from a real setting.

Which is what I’ll do now – let’s play Chousoku Henkei Gyrozetter Arubarosu no Tsubasa!

P1110664

P1110669

なにか ボタンを おしてください

Push any button.

P1110678

タッチでムービーをスキップ

Touch to skip movie.

P1110680

カケル って誰だ?

Who is Kakeru?

P1110681

なんか変な夢見ちゃったな

I had such a strange dream.

P1110683

名前を入力してください

Please enter your name.

P1110684

なまえはカールでよろしいですか?

Is it correct that the name is Karl?

P1110685

ナオ:カールったら

Nao: Hey Karl!

P1110686

ナオ:変な時間に昼寝したからじゃない?

Nao: You took a nap at a strange time, didn’t you?

P1110687

カール:フトンが干したてフカフカで気持ちいいんだもん

Karl: The freshly dried (?) futon was fluffy and felt so good.

P1110688

ナオ:お掃除するから外で遊んでらっしゃい

Nao: After you have cleaned up you can go out and play.

P1110689

ナオ:お父さんもエリカもでかけたわよ

Nao: Dad and Erika have also gone out.

P1110690

カール:はあい 母さん

Karl: Yees mum.

P1110691

ナオ:あ カール! ちょっと待って

Nao: Oh Karl! Wait a little.

P1110692

カール:?

Karl: ?

P1110693

ナオ:エリカったら チケット忘れてる映画観るっていってたのに

Nao: Erika forgot the ticket despite she said she was going to see a movie.

P1110694

ナオ:悪いけど 可愛い妹に チケットを届けてあげて

Nao: Sorry but could you deliver the ticket to your sweet little sister?

P1110695

カール:しょうがないなあ

Karl: I guess I have to.

P1110696

「だいじなもの」をあずかった!映画のチケット

You got an “important item”! A movie ticket.

P1110697

ナオ:ありがとね

Nao: Thanks!

P1110698

ナオ:商店街にある映画館のそばにエリカはいるんじゃないかしら

Nao: I wonder if Erika isn’t close to the movie theater in the shoutengai/shopping arcade.

P1110699

ナオ:いってらっしゃい

Nao: Take care (you’re leaving now).

P1110700

エリカにチケットを届けよう

Let’s deliver the ticket to Erika.

P1110701

(Aha, I can move with the joystick thing.)

P1110702 P1110703

下画面には今いる場所の地図が表示されているぞ

A map of the place where you are now is displayed on the lower screen.

P1110704

!マークが目的地だ

The ! symbol is the destination.

目的地まで矢印のガイドが表示されているぞ

The way to the destination is displayed by the arrow guides.

P1110705

矢印のガイドに従って!マークのところまで行ってみよう!

So let’s try to go to the ! place that the arrows point to!

P1110706

いいクルマだねー!

What a nice car!

(Here I realised that I could stop everyone on the street and press A to have them talk to me. So I did that a lot.)

P1110707

え?あのクルマに住んでるの?それはちょっと大変だね

Eh? You live in that car? That must be a bit tough.

P1110708

あらカールくん 今日も元気ね!

Oh, little Karl. You are so full of energy today too!

P1110709

おばさんカールくんの若さがまぶしいわ

Little Karl’s youth is sparkling over me, your aunt/older lady.

P1110710

カール:(映画館は商店街の先だ)

Karl: (The movie theater is in front of the shopping arcade.)

P1110713 P1110714

街の人と会話しよう

Let’s talk to the people in the city.

ここ横浜新都心にはたくさんの人が暮らしている

Lots of people live in the city of New Yokohama.

P1110715

街の人に近づいてAボタンを押して会話そしてみよう!

Let’s try to talk to the city’s people by pressing the A button when coming near them!

P1110716

頭に「!」吹き出しが出ているのが妹の「エリカ」だ

The head with a “!” balloon coming out of it is your little sister “Erika”.

探してみよう!

Let’s try and find her!

P1110717

昔はオトナしか車に乗れなかったんだって!

In the old days only grownups used to ride cars!

P1110718

今は子どもだって運転できるのにね

Nowadays children can drive.

P1110719

大きくなったらジャイロゼッターに乗るんだ!

When I grow up I’ll ride a gyrozetter!

P1110720

パパとママは絶対ダメっていうけどカッコイイんだもん

Papa and Mama say they’re totally against it, but it would be really cool.

P1110721

戦争で東京が消えてしまったからね横浜は日本の中心なんだ

Since Tokyo was eradicated in the war, Yokohama is the center of Japan.

P1110722

エネルクス社ではメガネの方が出世すると聞いて

At EnelX Inc. you better wear glasses. Get a promotion and listen (?)

P1110723

メガネをかけています

I’m wearing glasses.

P1110724

レイ:何だお前は?なれなれしい

Rei: What’s up with you? You’re too intimate (?)

P1110725

レイ:さては オレのファンか?

Rei: Wait, are you my fan?

P1110726

レイ:フッ 握手くらいならしてやらんでもない

Rei: Fu! With such a long handshake … (what?)

P1110727

レイ:横浜最強ドライバーの俺様と握手ができたんだ

Rei: You managed to shake hands with Yokohama’s strongest driver, namely Me.

P1110728

レイ:当分手を洗うなよ

Rei: Don’t wash your hand for some time.

P1110729

レイ:暴走ジャイロゼッターが出たというウワサを聞いてやってきたが

Rei: I heard a rumour about a runaway gyrozetter that got out.

P1110730

レイ:どうやらガセネタのようだな

Rei: It was of the Gaseneta kind (?)

P1110731

レイ:バカバカしい

Rei: Ridiculous.

帰るとするか

Will it return (?)

P1110732

ここは世界最大のエネルギー企業エネルクす本社だ

This is the head quarter of EnelX, the world’s largest energy company.

P1110733

エーアイカー燃料のゼタレイトはほとんどエネルクスが独占してるんだ

EnelX almost has a monopoly on Zetareit, the fuel for the A.I. cars.

P1110734

他にも警備用のジャイロゼッターやいろいろな物をくってるんだよ

It fuels (?) other things too, like the gyrozetters of the police and other stuff.

P1110735

エネルクスにようこそ!お約束はございますか?

Welcome to EnelX! What’s your errand? (? 約束 = promise)

P1110736

ご用が無ければお引き取りください

If you don’t have any business, please leave.

P1110737

ご用のない方は お通しできません

People without an errand can’t pass.

P1110741

昨日ものすごい流れ星を見たのいったい何だったのかしら

Yesterday I saw a fantastic shooting star, I wonder what it really was.

P1110742P1110743

戦争が始まる前は ジャイロゼッターのバトル大会がバーストコロシアムで開かれていたのよ

Before the war began, gyrozetter battle tournaments opened in the Burst Colosseum.

P1110744

またバーストコロシアムでバーストファイトがみたいわ

I wanna watch burst fights in the Burst Colosseum again.

P1110745

ゼタレイトが発見される前は空気が悪くて大変だったらしい

Before Zetareit was invented, the air was bad and it was sort of tough.

P1110746

エネルギーはクリーンなのが一番だな

Clean energy is most important.

P1110747

横浜新都心の中は平和だけど

Within New Yokohama there’s peace, but …

P1110748

一歩外に出れば 恐ろしい暴走ゼッターがうようよしてるの

If you go out, the horrible runaway zetter is crawling around.

P1110749

暴走ゼッターに怯えずに暮らせる世の中になるといいのにね

I hope the world will become a fearless place to live (thanks to the runaway zetter?)

P1110750

ここって ずっと工事中だよね

This is still under construction.

何でかなあ

I wonder what it is.

P1110751

マーヤ:エリカちゃんのお兄さんこんにちは!マーヤです

Maya: Erika-chan’s big brother, hello! I am Maya.

P1110752

マーヤ:エリカちゃんと二人でこれから映画を観るんです

Maya: Me and Erika-chan will watch a movie now.

P1110753

マーヤ:あいるちゃんがジャイロゼッターに乗るお話なんです!

Maya: It’s said that Airu-chan will ride a gyrozetter.

P1110754

エリカ:お兄ちゃーん!

Erika: Big brother!

P1110755

カール:あっ エリカ!

Karl: Oh, Erika!

P1110756

エリカ:えっへっへー

Erika: Ehehee

P1110757

エリカ:今から あいるちゃんの映画をみるんだよ~

Erika: We’re gonna see Airu-chan’s movie now.

P1110758

エリカ:あいるちゃんが「ジャイロゼッター」で大暴れするストーリーなんだ~

Erika: Airu-chan will have a fierce story in “Gyrozetter”.

P1110759

エリカ:ムフーン! ちょう楽しみ!

Erika: Mufun! (?) It will be really fun!

P1110760

カール:アイドルはともかく

Karl: Except for the idol …

P1110761

カール:「ジャイロゼッター」ってかっこいいよな!

Karl: “Gyrozetter” is cool!

P1110762

エリカ:うん!クルマがロボットに変形するんだもん

Erika: Yes! The car will transform into a robot.

P1110763

エリカ:うちのトレーラーハウスもジャイロゼッターだったらいいのに

Erika: Wouldn’t it be cool if our trailer house too was a gyrozetter …

P1110764

カール:お前は子どもだなあ

Karl: You are such a child.

P1110765

エリカ:双子なんだから 同い年でしょ!

Erika: Since we’re twins, we’re the same age!

P1110766

カール:それより 忘れ物!ほら 映画のチケット

Karl: Anyway, you forgot something! Hey, the movie tickets!

P1110767

「映画のチケット」を渡した

You handed over the movie tickets.

P1110768

エリカ:あれっ 何でお兄ちゃんが持ってるの?

Erika: Ah, why do you have them?

P1110769

カール:お前が忘れてったからだろ

Karl: Well guess, because you forgot them.

P1110770

エリカ:じゃあ あたしが持ってるのは

Erika: Well, I have them …

P1110771

エリカ:あっ これパパのカードだ!しっぱいしっぱい

Erika: Oh, this is dad’s card! What a mistake.

P1110772

カール:それ 父さんのドライバーズIDだぞ

Karl: Isn’t that dad’s driver’s license.

P1110773

カール:クルマの運転に必要だし。今頃さがしてるかも

Karl: It’s necessary for driving a car. He must be searching for it right now.

P1110774

エリカ:だって チケットと一緒にテーブルの上にあったんだもん

Erika: It must have been on the table together with the tickets.

P1110775

エリカ:映画始まっちゃうからお兄ちゃんパパに返しといて

Erika: Since the movie starts now, why don’t you return it to dad.

P1110776

カール:えーっ ぼくが?

Karl: What … me?

P1110777

エリカ:あとで すっごいヒミツ教えてあげるから!頼んだよ!

Erika: Afterwards I’ll tell you a great secret! Please!

P1110778

「だいじなもの」をあずかった:父のドライバーズID

You got an “important item”: Dad’s driver’s license.

P1110779

エリカ:えへへ ありがとね お兄ちゃん!

Erika: Ehehe, thanks big brother!

P1110780

エリカ:パパは住宅街に家を見に行くって 言ってたよ

Erika: Dad said he would go to look at a house in the residential area.

P1110781

エリカ:じゃあ また あとでね!

Erika: Well, see you later!

P1110782

カール:仕方ないなあ

Karl: It can’t be helped.

P1110786

中断しているソフト

Suspended software

超速変形ジャイロゼッター アルバロスの翼

Super High-Speed Transforming Gyrozetter – the Wings of Arubaros

HOMEボタンで再開できます

You can resume with the HOME button

Afterword

WELL, that ends my first gaming session! 10 minutes of gaming followed by 5 or 6 hours of transcribing and translating! Much more demanding than I thought.

I had imagined an action game but so far it’s just everyday life – which is a happy surprise for me since I love realism! To get a glimpse of ordinary Japanese people’s (or children’s) life by playing their games.

The game was quite easy to understand. I have a feeling the target audience is quite young since the protagonist is a fifth grader. So the game uses furigana over the kanji and often substitutes kanji for kana altogether.

Gyrozetters, Zetareit and Gaseneta aside, I learned some new and useful words:

  • フカフカ = fluffy
  • 目的地 = destination
  • 矢印 = arrow
  • 新都心 = new city
  • 吹き出し = balloon
  • 出世する = to get ahead, to make a career
  • なれなれしい = too intimate, over-familiar
  • バカバカしい = ridiculous
  • 暴走 = runaway
  • 暴走する = to go out of control
  • 燃料 = fuel
  • 独占 = monopoly
  • 警備用 = police (how does it differ from 警察?)
  • ものすごい = tremendous
  • 流れ星 = shooting star
  • うようよする = to crawl around
  • 怯えず = not scared (research word type!)
  • 工事中 = under construction
  • 大暴れする = to wreck havoc
  • X はともかく = leaving aside X …
  • 変形する = to transform, to deform
  • トレーラーハウス = trailer house
  • 双子 = twins
  • 同い年(おないどし)= of the same age
  • 中断 = interruption
  • 再開 = resumption

Now coffee.

How to dispose of a hard drive securely on a Wednesday afternoon in Berlin

I’m doing some long due consolidation of my data and decided to get rid of some old firewire hard disks. I’m not that comfortable throwing away personal storage media though. So this is how I disposed of them.

First I erased all content by writing zeros on the whole disk, which takes several hours.

Then I started the mechanical destruction of the hard disks.

This is what it looked like under the cover, a regular 3.5 inch disk. A bit like an old record player, which basically is what a hard drive is:

P1110613

I started by drilling on the disk, which was a bit tricky since it started to rotate:

P1110614

P1110617

P1110619

Then I tried to hammer nails through the disk, but it proved too hard:

P1110622

So I turned the hammer around and scratched the disk instead:

P1110623

Then I looked more closely and realised that there were four reading heads and two disks that had data on both sides:

P1110625

So I took out the disks and repeated the procedure on each side of them:

P1110627

Last of all I biked to the recycling place to throw away the stuff in the right container:

P1110630

P1110628

Ah, it feels good to be two hard disks lighter!

Results for the JLPT N3 Practice Test

My landlord in Japan scanned my JLPT N3 Practice Test results and emailed them to me:

JLPT N3 Practice Test results

With these scores it would be a shame if I failed the real test, though I do think I did worse on that one. Those results will be sent out in early February, but I think I can check them online too before that.

To be honest I haven’t opened my Japanese books since I got back from Japan. I’m gaming and watching in Japanese though. (The Yowamushi Pedal anime is fantastic!) Otherwise just living Berlin.